Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Master Yourself

Today before class I helped Heng Ji rehang the Temple flag. It was definitely an acute training in patience and perseverance but we finally got it up, and Sifu even held the start of class. We ended up finishing class early as well because Sifu's younger brother was here from China, so it was time to celebrate! So training came out to about an hour and 25 minutes. That's basically the length of a daytime class, but combined with the facts that I hadn't trained two days in a row or L1 in almost two weeks, it was definitely a different feel psychologically and thus affected how "tired" I felt. Bad Cheng.

I try really assiduously not to let external things affect how I train: the length of class, who is there, who teaches, the weather, what happened at work, how much I slept, none of it matters in the end. You go in, you find the chi from yourself, and train as hard as you can. But on the way home with Shi, we were talking about how to polish your movements and I had a mini-revelation.

Here's the thing. Training isn't necessarily about finding the chi within; it's about mastering yourself even when you can't find it and training anyway. I have a hard time teaching, I still stumble and mutter, over-explain, and try to inexpertly reiterate all the nifty lessons given to me, but there is one original thought I had that I offered a student the other day and I was pretty proud: It's your leg. That was it.

I was teaching cetitui and I told them, "Don't let your leg swing and pull you over. It's your leg; you control it; make it do what you tell it." They kind of looked at me askance because with being tired at the end of class that sounded like a tall order. But then, amazingly, it worked. Because no matter what is going on, even at the end of an exhausting class when you think you can't move your leg - you can. So you should definitely always be able to get going at the beginning. Mastering myself is something Sifu says a lot that I really try hard to apply both in and out of temple; I really needed the reminder tonight.

1 comment:

  1. That's an excellent tip! I always tell people to have control of their kicks. But I think this one has a more realizing effect: It's your leg!